G C L

GUIDE TO
COVER LETTER WRITING
Becker Career Center
Contact us: 518-388-6176
www.union.edu/career
© Copyright 2013
Cover Letter Writing
A cover letter is a marketing tool intended to generate interest in you and get the reader excited about
reviewing your accompanying resume. The cover letter should succinctly articulate your interest and
enthusiasm for both the company and specific position, and demonstrates how your unique background,
skills and experiences make you an excellent fit for both the position and organization to which you are
applying.
General Tips
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Make connections between what is on your resume and the position requirements; don’t just repeat
what’s on your resume.
o Describe specific accomplishments, experiences and skills that demonstrate how you fit the
position. Provide examples to support claims; doing so strengthens your candidacy.
o Cite examples from the most relevant areas of your background, including your internship or
employment experience, leadership roles, extra-curricular activities and coursework.
Prepare a unique letter for each position.
o Nothing looks worse than a generic cover letter; make sure your cover letter highlights skill
sets and credentials consistent with those of the job posting.
o Customize the employer’s information on each individual letter; specify why you are
interested in working in this position at this company.
Address each cover letter to the appropriate person.
o Use “Dear Mr. or Ms. Last Name”. Do not use phrases such as “To whom it may concern” or
“Dear Sir or Madam”. If the name is unisex (e.g., Pat Brown), use “Dear First & Last Name”.
o Call the Human Resources office or Hiring Manager of each organization to find out to
whom you should be addressing your letter.
o If you cannot identify the appropriate person, address your cover letter to “Hiring Manager”
or “Human Resources Director”.
Keep a copy of every letter you submit.
o Designate a folder on your computer to save each cover letter you send out. Use the dates on
each cover letter as a reference.
o If you do not hear from the employer within two weeks, follow up on the status of your
application.
Make it perfect.
o Typographical errors, misspellings and poor word choice will earn your cover letter and
resume a one-way ticket to the “no pile”.
o Have someone proofread your letter before sending it out.
Enthusiasm Sells.
o Employers want candidates who want to work for them. Show them that you’ve researched
their organization and make a convincing case for why you want to work for them.
o Be professional and courteous, but let your personality come through.
Formatting Tips
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Use 8½” X 11” quality bond paper – the same kind you used for your resume.
Keep it to one page, single spaced.
Use 10-12 point font and choose the same style you chose for your resume.
Remember to sign your name at the bottom of each hard copy letter you submit.
Use a Block Style Format, and align names, dates and paragraphs along the left-hand margin.
Use 1” margins all around the page.
COVER LETTER OUTLINE
Your Street Address
City, ST Zip
Today’s Date
Mr./Ms. First and Last Name of Contact
Title of Employer
Company/Organization
Street Address
City, ST Zip
Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name of Contact:
Your opening paragraph tells why you are writing and notes where you learned about the
position or if someone referred you. When referring to the position, use the title used by the
employer. If someone referred you and no specific title is known, be as specific as possible
about the kind of position for which you are applying. Do some research on the
organization so that you can state your genuine interest in this particular employer and
why it is a good fit for you, not how it will help you.
Your middle paragraph(s) should highlight examples that demonstrate your relevant
experience, background, and/or coursework that will show the reader why she/he should
consider you as a candidate. Be sure to connect your experiences and/or education to the
position description. By using examples, show the employer that you have the necessary
experience they seek.
You could include another paragraph detailing additional experience that will demonstrate
or connect your background with the position. For a concluding sentence, summarize the
skills and personal traits that you would bring to the job for which you are applying. Also,
remember that the reader will view your letter as an example of your writing skills.
In your closing paragraph, reiterate your interest in the position, thank the employer for
his/her consideration, provide your contact information, and indicate the follow-up
action. State what you want the recipient of the letter to do next (such as contacting you to
further discuss the available position) or what you will do next (such as calling to follow-up
on the status of your application). Only say you are going to follow up if you have the
contact information to do so.
Sincerely,
Sign your name (note: if sending electronically no need to include signature)
Your name (typed)
Enclosure
When writing a cover letter, you want to market your experiences, background and skill set to the
specific position to which you’re applying. Depending on the position, you may pull from different
areas of your academic, work, extracurricular, and athletic experiences that better target the skill sets
and credentials most pertinent to the specific job or internship to which you’re applying. Below is a
sample internship description for a position at Ticketmaster. Notice how Wesley, the student whose
cover letter appears on the following page, draws a clear link between the skills/experiences detailed
in the job description and his own academic background, skill set and campus involvement. In
doing so, Wesley makes a clear case for his candidacy.
Sample Job Description
Job Title
Company
Industry
Job Function
Description
Notice the
skill sets that
the position
highlights.
Key terms are
bolded and
italicized for
emphasis.
Look for keywords – descriptive action verbs
and adjectives defining the main
responsibilities and qualifications of the
position – in the job description and try to
use them in the body of your cover letter.
Marketing/Promotions Intern
Ticketmaster
Arts & Entertainment – Other, Retail/Merchandising
Marketing
As a marketing intern for Ticketmaster, you can expect to learn sales and marketing
practices of the ticketing industry in the world of entertainment. The internship will
allow you to enhance your writing, presentation and research skills as well as learn how
to develop and maintain client relationships. By the completion of the internship you
should know how to determine via research what marketing techniques to apply to
various projects, online placement, discounting, promotions and more. This internship
will give you insight and vast general knowledge of marketing in live entertainment
ticketing; concerts, sports, arts and family events.
Position Responsibilities:
• Track event data and present findings.
• Develop recap materials at the conclusion of a promotion.
• Support product-related initiatives.
• Contribute to website content and the creation of custom webpages.
• Monitor that the Ticketmaster brand is properly represented in client and
promotional partners’ advertisements.
• Assist with customized marketing/promotional presentations.
• Run quality assurance tests.
Qualifications:
• Student pursuing a BA/BS degree in related area from an accredited institution.
• Must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
• Excellent organizational, verbal and written communication skills are essential.
• Creativity and strong attention to detail required.
• Proficiency with Microsoft Word/Excel/Power Point and the Internet required.
• Must be able to work in a team environment and meet deadlines.
Additional Information:
• Scheduling office hours is negotiable per applicant.
• Length of internship: minimum 15 hours per week for 10 weeks.
Contact
Rosalyn Leiva – East Regional Recruiter
Alumnus: No
Tip – Print out the job description for the
position you’re applying to, then identify and
highlight keywords from the posting. This will
help you better “target” your cover letter.
Sample Cover Letter – HireU
Ms. Rosalyn Leiva
East Regional Recruiter
Ticketmaster
Dear Ms. Leiva:
First Paragraph – Cite the position you’re applying to and
reference where you found out about the opportunity (corporate
website, personal referral, etc.). Try to display your enthusiasm for
the position and/or line of work by stating WHY you want to work
for the particular organization.
I’m writing to apply for the Marketing/Promotions Intern position at Ticketmaster,
which I learned about through the Becker Career Center at Union College. After
reviewing the position description and researching Ticketmaster, I believe that my skills
and experience make me an excellent candidate.
Body
Paragraphs
– Notice
how Wesley
specifically
highlights
some of the
broader
skill sets
outlined in
the job
description,
uses
keywords
that are
consistent
with the job
posting and
cites
examples to
support his
statements.
As a sophomore at Union College, I have undertaken a number of courses and
extra-curricular engagements that prepared me for this internship. The study of
economics has helped develop my research, analytical and creative thinking skills, as
it has allowed me to contemplate the relationships between human behavior and a
variety of environmental and cultural factors. As part of my sophomore research
project, I am currently researching how companies effectively utilize branding
strategies and catchy logos to increase their client base and better capture their target
markets. I believe this on-going analysis of corporate markets and the knowledge I am
gaining regarding effective marketing strategies will directly benefit the
Marketing/Promotions department.
I’ve complemented my academic background with strong extra-curricular involvement.
As Publicity and Promotions Co-Chair for U-Program, I oversaw and implemented a
marketing plan for campus concerts, comedic performances and novelty acts. This
required strong teamwork, organizational and interpersonal abilities as I interfaced
with campus administrators, student organizations and other U-Program members in
executing the marketing plan.
I believe I would be a strong asset to the Marketing/Promotions team at Ticketmaster
and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications with
you. I can be reached at 518-333-6565 or [email protected] Thank you for
your consideration and I look forward to your reply.
Sincerely,
Highlight
skills and
pieces of
your
background
consistent
with the job
posting.
Wes does a
good job of
linking his
own skill set
with the
needs of the
specific
position.
Notice how
Wes uses
this
paragraph
to highlight
his campus
leadership
experiences.
Closing Paragraph – Thank the employer for their time and
reiterate your interest in the position.
Wesley Mantooth
Sample Cover Letter – HireU
NOTE – All keywords on this cover letter are bolded and italicized for
emphasis. Refrain from doing so on your own cover letter or resume.
Sample Cover Letter – Mailed to Employer
Union College
Reamer Campus Center #123
Schenectady, NY 12308
August 23, 2013
Elliott Rosen
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp
284 South Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Dear Mr. Rosen:
Identify
why
you’re
interested
in this
company.
Discuss
class
projects to
highlight
analytical
and
teamwork
skills.
Introduce
your
relevant
skills to be
discussed.
Please accept this letter and the attached resume as my application for the Central Hudson
Gas & Electric Corporation Engineer position. This is in response to a job posting from the
Becker Career Center at Union College. As a mechanical engineering student, I am
interested in joining a company where my analytical and design skills could be put to
use. As an industry-leading energy and technology company, Central Hudson seems to be
the perfect match.
Recently, I took a thermal fluid/systems design course, with a focus on energy, where I
worked on design projects with three team members. We designed a heat recovery system for
a firm to use to exhaust gases to pre-heat cold, incoming air and save on electricity costs. In
addition to analyzing the design and energy requirements, we performed an economic
analysis. Currently, I am working with a team of eight students to design a robot to shoot
darts, simulating a human-like motion. These courses not only transformed my design
perspective and ideas, but also taught me how to work effectively in teams.
In the summer of 2010, I received a Davis Peace project grant of $10,000, to use on a project
I identified, lead and implemented. I gained valuable leadership skills while overseeing a
team of volunteers, setting goals, planning daily schedules, and collaborating with an
NGO. Among many extracurricular activities, I currently tutor other Union students in
physics, math, and engineering. This position has enabled me to sharpen my
communication skills, as I must constantly seek the most effective way to teach concepts
to students with varying levels of skills and comprehension.
I am very interested in the Engineer position at Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation,
and believe that I possess the skills and experience necessary to succeed in this role. I look
forward to discussing my qualifications with you in greater detail. I can be reached at 518123-4567, or [email protected] Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Sign your name (note: if sending electronically no need to include signature)
Taylor Swift
Demonstrate
knowledge
gained
through
coursework.
Use
extracurricular
activities to
illustrate
leadership and
communication
skills.
Sample Job Description
Job Title
Company
Industry
Job Function
Description
Identify two or three
key responsibilities
with which you’re
experienced.
Match the items
in this section to
your relevant
skills and
experience.
Contact
Engineer
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
Energy/Utilities
Engineering
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation is seeking Engineers to join our team
and fill positions in our Electric System Design (Substation Design, Electric System
Protection, or Transmission Design) and Electric System Planning (Transmission
Planning, Distribution Planning and/or Operating Engineer) Departments.
Position Responsibilities
• Perform engineering assignments relating to planning, designing, construction,
operation, maintenance and performance. These may include (but are not limited
to): electric substations & related facilities; overhead and underground electric
transmission and distribution protective relay systems, distribution protection
systems and automatic control equipment; distribution automation;
telemetering, supervisory, and communications systems
• Work assignments may include (but are not limited to): Prepare basic one line
or block diagrams; prepare requests for funding authorization, cost estimates,
construction plans, designs, specifications, bills of material, material purchase
requisitions and delivery schedules; develop construction and material
standards, and standards of estimating practices and test procedures; Inspect
material and performance of contractors; conduct cost analysis of work orders;
develop capacity ratings for various components of electrical systems; investigate
planning methods and procedures of the electric utility industry; develop and
recommend statements of engineering practices, service standards, and
equipment capability standards to be used as a basis for system reinforcement,
design and operation; analyze performance of company’s electric facilities,
including malfunction or failure of equipment, and recommend remedial
measures; determine effect of new large loads on system development plans
recommending the method of supply and/or modification as required; electric
reliability analysis; and storm response as required.
Qualifications
• Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical or Electrical Engineering (focus on Power
is preferable)
• Strong analytical, organizational and quantitative skills
• Ability to work individually or as part of a group on special projects
• Well-developed written/verbal communication skills
• Valid driver’s license
Elliott Rosen
Alumnus: No
Cover Letter Sentence Starters
As stated earlier, the purpose of the cover letter is to get the reader excited about your
candidacy and make them want to read your resume. As such, you should
communicate your relevant qualifications as they fit the needs of the position, while
also expressing your enthusiasm for the particular company and/or career field.
Because knowing what to say in a cover letter can be difficult, we’ve listed a number of
“sentence starters” to aid you in matching your unique background, skill set and
qualifications to the needs of the position and employer. Use these sentence starters as
examples when drafting the three parts of your cover letter: the introduction, the body
and the closing paragraph.
INTRODUCTION
• It is with great interest that I am applying for the position of____________.
•
(Name of contact) provided me with your name and suggested I contact you in
reference to the ___________position.
•
As a recent graduate of Union College with a degree in ___________and an avid
(reader, writer, sports enthusiast, etc.), I believe I am a strong applicant for the
position of_________.
•
As a (marketing, research, congressional, etc.) intern with (name of organization)
I gained valuable experience in____________ that makes me an ideal candidate
for the position of___________.
•
I am eager to apply for the position of ___________because I have the
_______________that it takes to be successful in the position.
•
Thank you for speaking with me on (date) and discussing the _____ position. I
am very interested in_____
.
•
Your organization impresses me because of (the performance of your product,
the integrity of your support staff, its customer satisfaction, etc.).
BODY
• My experience as a __________ will help me to contribute __________.
•
Throughout my four years of undergraduate studies I have demonstrated skills
and abilities that are exactly what the position of _______demands.
I can contribute to your organization’s effectiveness by_______________.
•
My previous success in_______________ has proven my ability to ____________.
•
•
To highlight some of my accomplishments I have ________________.
•
Working with _________ has strengthened and improved my (analytical,
research, interpersonal, organizational, etc.) and (analytical, research,
interpersonal, organizational, etc.) skills.
•
I am confident that I can be a valuable asset to your organization
because______________.
CLOSING
• I am eager to learn more about________ and would like to discuss my
qualifications and interests with you.
•
I am interested in the position and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss
my background and your requirements in greater detail.
•
I feel that my __________ and __________ make me a strong candidate for this
position, and therefore look forward to the possibility of employment with
(name of organization).
•
I would appreciate the opportunity to further discuss my qualifications with you.
I can be reached at (phone number) or at
.
•
I will contact you within (10 days, 1 week, etc.) to (verify my application
materials are in order, introduce myself, inquire as to the next steps, etc.).
SENTENCES THAT CAN BE USED IN MULTIPLE PARAGRAPHS
• I would like the opportunity to put my skills, drive and enthusiasm to work as a
______for____________.
•
Being (a team player, results driven, a quick learner, etc.) who loves challenges, I
will
.
•
My career goal is to __________________. Therefore I welcome the opportunity to
make a contribution to (organization name here).
•
The________________ position described in___________ sounds exactly like the
opportunity I’m looking for.
Sample Cover Letter – E-Mail Body
Dear Mr. Drummer:
Please accept this letter and attached resume in response to the Journalism Internship recently
posted on your website. Since studying in the Capital District, I have been very impressed by
the quality of stories and content of your newspaper, and believe my educational background
and journalism experience could be of use to your organization.
As a contributing writer to the Newstime Daily high school newspaper, I explored issues
affecting the school and surrounding community in a thought provoking and engaging weekly
opinion article titled “Plant This”. This experience taught me how to effectively research
unfamiliar topic areas, cite and quote sources, write to specific word lengths (ranging from 150
- 600 words), and construct strong stories.
As a rising junior at Union College majoring in English my work experiences and academic
coursework have further refined skills and abilities that would assist me as a Journalism Intern.
Through an intensive sophomore research seminar, I conducted independent research
examining the effects of ethnic identification and societal pressures on world war II German
American relief efforts that culminated in a 45 page paper and presentation. This experience
further honed my research, analytical, writing, and presentation skills. Working as Head
Counselor at Camp Cedarbrook I developed strong teamwork and communication skills, as this
position required me supervise a staff of eight organizing and coordinating activities for 125
campers. I believe the skill sets and personal attributes developed through such experiences
would directly benefit the Times Union.
I am very interested in the Journalism Internship, and would appreciate the opportunity to
discuss my background and your requirements in greater detail. If you wish to contact me in
the meantime, I can be reached at 276.555.0201 or [email protected] Thank you for
your consideration and I look forward to your reply.
Sincerely,
(Note: no need to sign if sending through email)
Robert Plant